I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Monday, November 14, 2016

I Cried, Then I Cried Again. The Aftermath Of An Election

I cried on elections night. Not out of defeat for a candidate. The tears were for disbelief for having elected a man to office whose campaign promoted everything I reject, the same things our society as a whole rejects: bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia. It was disbelief and disappointment in seeing the man who, for months, undermined so much of the values we hold dear win.
It was not fear of the enforcement of his promised policies. It was sadness for all of us who allowed a message of hate to gain acceptance.
The logical part of me rejected the outcome of the votes. The promises to fix what is wrong coming from a man who does much of what is wrong (doesn’t pay taxes, hires undocumented immigrants below minimum wage) is the equivalent of hiring an addiction counselor who is deep in heroin.
Regardless, I don’t fear the policies as I fear the impact his message and how it was assimilated would have on those who seemed targeted by it, whether that was his intent or not.
For that I cried.
I knew the message disseminated during the presidential campaign by the now president elect had spoken to the low feelings of many. Those emotions that were dormant and by no means new nor created by this man, had been locked away and restricted as our society moved away from racism and injustice. His message gave the okay, the green light to unleash what we have fought to avoid for years. His message opened the gate and allowed them to fly free.

I cried that night.
It is that feeling you get when something terrible has happened.
That feeling cannot be explained. It is one of those “must be there” to understand it. “Must feel it” to know it.
And I know it. I have felt it.
As an immigrant, I have never felt discriminated, but I am well acquainted with a lesser feeling, that of “classism”. I grew up in a developing Country where social and economic status equals importance. A person is treated – or was treated back when I grew up – according to the rank their family had in society. I live now in a county of the United States that, because of its prominent classism, reminds me of my birthland. I am used to being talked over in a meeting, being interrupted in the middle of my sentence. My ideas, as brilliant as they may be, require much more emphasis than my counterparts. At times, I require a high-profile person by my side to be taken seriously. I deal with it. It comes with the territory.  I don’t belong to the right social class to expect differently.
But I’ve never dealt with open prejudice until now.
In the land of the free, a land of immigrants, I’ve been told in recent months to “speak English. This is America” as I carry on a private conversation.
I cried the night of the elections for the all of that, and then I cried again a day later.
It was not when I saw the anticipated acts of harassment done on to minorities. Muslim women being removed of their hijab, cars driving through black neighborhoods screaming “cotton picker” and the “N” word. Immigrants waking up to signs on their windshield telling them deportation was their future. Kids told in school by classmates to go back to their country. Not even when I saw the graffiti proclaiming white supremacy. I didn’t cry then.
It was when, after posting a question on social media, an unrelated comment told me “maybe u should think about relocating” That message illustrated in black and white what I felt. It made it real. It drove it home.
Under the dark cloud that this nasty campaign left behind, and the message it conveyed, some people will be glad to let me know that my rights are not the same as anybody else’s. I am different. I am a minority. If I don’t agree, I should leave. My right to express my opinion has been taken away.
But I have that right. I have earned it and I claim it, and legally no one can take it away from me. Nonetheless, some, as the person in the comment will make every effort to remind those of us who dare disagree that we are different, different to what they are.

Before this election, I was glad my children were intelligent, good hearted, good human beings, and I was confident our society would appreciate them for those attributes. I am now glad my kids are Caucasian, they speak with no accent. I am happy for that now.